Google’s search algorithm is a complex beast, with countless factors - more than 200 of them, mind you! - considered when ranking web pages.
There are more ranking factors out there than you can poke a stick at. Each are weighted differently, with some having a huge impact and others having a marginal effect at most.
One not-so-tiny factor that separates high-ranking sites from the laggers is Domain Authority (DA).
Originally created by Moz, think of domain authority as the SEO equivalent of the Richter scale, or a barometer for how SEO-friendly your entire site is.
While no-one is able to how well your site will rank, domain authority can give you a pretty good indicator!
How domain authority is calculated
Domain authority is scored on a 0-100 scale, with bigger numbers representing greater authority.
If you were to graph it out, you wouldn’t be left with a straight line, but one that flattens out and plateaus as the numbers increase.
It’s a lot easier to increase your authority when you have a low score than if you have a high one: for example, getting your site from 30 to 40 is easier than moving it from 80 to 90.
On the flip side however, sites with high authority are consistently better at ranking than sites with less authority. The payoff is worth it, trust us!
Like we mentioned earlier, DA is your site’s overall “ranking strength”. It’s an amalgamation of a whole bunch of important ranking factors into a single, easy-to-follow metric.
Improving your domain authority: a simple guide
Okay, so now you know what domain authority is, what goes into it and why it matters.
That just leaves the most important question: what can you do to improve your domain authority?
Thankfully, for most small or medium businesses, increasing your DA shouldn’t be huge struggle.
Few SMEs have authority rankings in the 70s and above - those numbers are generally the sole domain of Wikipedia and the like.
As such, increasing your authority isn’t too challenging… if you know what to do!
Content is king - create quality content
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: when it comes to SEO, content is king.
And as a combination of different ranking factors, content is once again the most important thing to look out for when improving your domain authority.
Google’s goal is to provide searchers with quality information that’s relevant to their searches.
That’s why Google has gradually shifted from a keyword-focus to a focus on quality results.
If you ask us, the secret to quality content is:
- Knowing what your visitors want to hear and learn
- Creating content that directly addresses queries, questions, and searches
- Making sure what you’re creating is unique, well-written, good quality, and compelling
As an SEO agency in Melbourne, we’ve talked about what makes for quality content multiple times. Click here for a refresher.
Optimise your existing content
In addition to creating new content, it’s also a good idea to think about improving your existing content too.
As part of your SEO strategy, you’ll want to optimise your content for keywords that you have authority in.
That means if you have an identifiable niche or specialisation, refresh your existing content to match search terms related to that.
While they mightn’t be able to offer the same volume of searches, they’ll build you up as an expert in those areas, thereby increasing your domain authority.
How easy is your website to use?
Would you stick around on a website where none of the buttons make sense, the font is impossible to read and images are dropped haphazard all over the place?
Of course not.
Optimising your existing content doesn’t just mean the written copy - it also means making your site visually appealing and easy-to-follow, including using colours that are pleasing to the eye, legible font style and size, and clear navigation.
Internal links - use them!
If you’re creating or modifying content, you’ll want to link to your own pages whenever possible.
The first reason we recommend this is because internal links enhance the user experience.
User experience is part of what makes your pages rank. Therefore, it’s also part of the domain authority equation.
If a visitor likes what they see, internal links give them supplemental material to trawl through and learn from. It’s convenient and saves time - hence, a better experience.
Secondly, internal links help Google.
Google’s algorithm is pretty smart, but sometimes it needs a little bit of help. Linking to related pages on your site gives Google a better understanding of what your page are all about. It builds a clearer idea of what your entire site is about, too!
And all of that helps to build authority.
Quality by association
It’s not just internal links that matter, either - backlinking (inbound links to your website) is huge for your page rankings. And bringing in visitors. And increasing your domain authority.
Do you want your site being linked to by reputable, authoritative sites? Or rubbish, conspiracy theory bloggers?
The assumption is that a high-quality site will only choose high-quality links. As such, their domain authority will bleed over to your site, giving you a helpful boost.
That means having links to your pages pop up on industry sites, publications and other reputable sources.
You might want to consider:
- Guest blogging for sites in your industry
- Partnering up with other players
- Networking with other related businesses
Increase your domain authority
While domain authority won’t get your site and web pages to rank, what it does do is give you an indicator of how likely your site is to perform in Google’s eyes. Increase your domain authority and 9 times out of 10, a surge in page rankings will follow.
This isn’t something you can do overnight. It requires constant work, and is intrinsically tied to your SEO strategy.